More about Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay
Secret's Wild Orchid, Montego Bay, Jamaica
We spent the first 4 days of our vacation at Iberostar Grand then moved to Secrets. Was this a mistake, possibly.
Be forwarned, the Wild Orchid is really not ready to provide 5* star service yet. They are not finished building, not all the restaurants are ready to be used all at the same time (due to lack of trained personnel). The Oceana Grill at lunch is excellent, wish it were also open for breakfast. The buffett for breakfast does not even have a toaster, selection at breakfast is repetative, and no maple sryup for french toast or pancakes. You can tell a good nmber of the employees are new to this industry and it will take time for them to learn and feel comfortable at they are doing.
There is a total lack of communication between the front line and management. The different departments don't want to take orders from other departments. You can be taken to the French Restaurant by the conceirge of the Preferred club and the restaurant can be advised to look after you, and they totally ignore you and 2 hours later your entree appears.
This will be a wonderful resort when all the construction is done, and everyone knows their job and they hire enough people to provide the service that a 5* resort should give.
The beach is beautiful, bar service on the beach is slow, the preferred club pool does not have a bar nor does it have a swim up bar. That is disappointing since you are paying extra and you have to walk over the other pool to use the swim up bar. The water at the swim up bar is heated average temperature is 95, way way too hot.
The bottom line, they are experiencing major growing pains and it will take alot more time for them all to be worked out. My personal opinion is that they opened way to early.
The bonus for us was that we me meet some wonderful people whom we formed an instant bond and it made the lack of services bareable.
Will be a beautiful resort in 6 months/1 year
I just came back from a 4 day visit to Secrets Wild Orchid. We were originally booked for a preferred club room at St. James and even though we were promised by Rod (through facebook) and a Secrets representative before leaving, after 6 hours of waiting for a room, we were told there were no more preferred club rooms available. Not a great start to the trip, however after speaking with the management, they were very understanding of our frustrations, and "made it right," I must compliment Claudette in particular, for being so accommodating. I hope this review is helpful for those traveling soon...
Location: You're right on the beach. Can't beat it. If I were to return, I would stay in Wild Orchid, since it seemed to be a much nicer location (in terms of beaches).
Poolside: The pools are amazing. The difference between the Preferred Club pool and the main complex is the Preferred club pool is much more quiet. In the main complex, there is music playing, activities going on, etc. I wish you could have ordered food by the pool (instead of just drinks), but maybe this will be something offered in the future..
Amenities: The spa was not open - they were offering treatments in the gazebo or in your room for discounted rates. The gym was not open - there were just a few treadmills in a non-air-conditioned room and some weights/bikes outside. The tennis courts were not open. There is a gaming complex with fussball, pool tables, and ping pong tables available for use.
Breakfast/Lunch: There is a breakfast buffet every day, which is pretty good. For lunch, there is a buffet with standard lunch options, and there is Oceana Restaurant (in the middle of the main complex pool area) with a sandwich station, grill, etc. Nothing to write home about, but decent food.
Dinner: The resort opened 3-4 restaurants per night (one was usually a buffet). The food was quite good, and they were very accommodating to vegetarians (the chef always prepared something). The only complaint I have is the length of time it took to be served. Everyone was extremely nice, however it took about 2 1/2 hours every night to eat dinner (for 4 people) because they were so understaffed. Hopefully this will improve soon (and I'm sure it will because we were already seeing improvements by the end of our trip). I would recommend getting to the restaurants at 6:00 (when they open) to avoid a long wait.
Rooms: The rooms were very nice and comfortable. My only complaint would be the bathroom - the showers leak (all of them) and I wasn't a fan of the "curtain" that separates the bathroom from the rest of the room. While there is a separate shower door and a separate door for the toilet, it really isn't all that private. I was traveling with my husband, so it wasn't a big deal, but I don't think I would have been comfortable if I was with friends or on my honeymoon.
Service/Entertainment: The people working at the resort are amazingly nice. They go out of their way to make sure you are enjoying yourself. The entertainment is great - there's always something going on during the day (dance lessons, water aerobics, volleyball, biking, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling) and at night, they always have activities planned (movies, house band, steel drum band, cultural shows, karaoke, etc.).
Construction: St James is completely blocked off by construction. There is very little greenery and while the construction noise is kept at a minimum, you can tell that you're staying at a resort yet to be completed.
What to Bring: Bug spray (wish I had it!) and small bills to tip the staff (if you want)
All in all, this will be an amazing resort once it is fully functional (my guess would be 6 months). Had we not been promised so many things through the Facebook page (all amenities open, preferred club room would transfer, etc.), we would not have been disappointed. We still had a great time - I would just warn those going in the next 6 months that it is not completely done.
Under-staffed and under-trained
My wife and I just came back from a 6 night 7 day stay at the Secrets W.O. I totally understand that the resort opened very recently and they’re still working out their “kinks” but in short, it should have never opened this early. Let me start by saying that my wife and I are both very easy going and we don’t like to complain or make a fuss (and we rarely did on this trip) unless it’s completely absurd. We’ve only started doing the whole “all inclusive” resorts 2 years ago when we got married. Since then we’ve gone to three other all inclusive resorts in St. Lucia and Dominican Republic, and if you look at my past tripadvisor contributions, I’m pretty generous with my ratings. But I gotta say, this resort disappointed us in many ways.
There were a lot of little things that other people we met were bothered by but we could careless. No, we didn’t get the room we wanted, no, our mini bar wasn’t restocked, no, we never got our breakfast that we ordered, no, we didn’t get robes or slippers as promised, no, we had a coffee pot but no coffee in the room, yes, the shower leaks, yes, it takes an hour plus to get your food, no, the wireless doesn’t work all the time, yes, they do wake you up at 11pm to do a “turn down service” when we’re already sleeping, etc, etc. These are just list of things that we noticed and what others mentioned and made a fuss about but again, we’re easy going people so we could careless. We were there to enjoy our time on the beach.
I guess the things that bothered me the most compared to other all inclusive resorts is that first, the check in took 2 hours. It was chaos from the beginning. They didn’t have our reservation in the system (although I confirmed twice before coming and had the confirmation letter in my hand) so they had to put us into the system that day. They made us wait. I had specifically asked for a PC room, ocean view, king size bed months before going. We got a PC room, ocean view, but 2 double beds. Not the biggest deal, but when I asked them the day after when we can move to our originally booked room, they said “no guarantees” it will be available. After 2 days I gave up and just enjoyed the rest of the vacation. Besides, our stuff was all over the room and I didn’t feel like packing up. As compensation they gave us a bottle of rum. We’ve met plenty of couples who took them 4 to even 9 HOURS to check in so I guess it wasn’t all that bad.
Second was that the meal times take forever. The restaurants open at 6pm. When you get there at 6pm, be prepared to wait until 7pm to get your first course. They rarely come around to give you a drink. I’ve seen couples leave after 2 hours of no service and just order room service (which takes another hour). Be prepared to stay for at least 2-3 hours to get all your food. We always skipped dessert because it just took so long in every restaurant.
The problem is that the place is severely under-staffed. For example, the host of the restaurant also takes your order and goes around doing other stuff because they don’t have enough people to do everything else. And second, they are severely under-trained. You can tell that a lot of them are just standing around and watching and not knowing what to do. The servers at the beach will come around twice or three times at best during the whole afternoon asking you if you need a refill. It’s such a long wait I just go to the bars myself and get a drink and find 4 servers just talking and watching and not doing much. And yet with house keeping, there are literally 4-5 people cleaning the room. I had hard time giving all of them tips when they came by.
This place COULD have a great potential. But not for a while. I’d wait AT LEAST a solid year before I would think about going back. I’ve heard of some HORROR stories of people running into worse things that we did (no running water, brown water, flooding, etc). We count our blessings that ours wasn’t really that bad. My review is simply based on my past experiences with other places. For the same amount of money, I’ve been treated much better. If you already booked in 2010, I’d SERIOUSLY consider going somewhere else, especially if you’ve been to other all inclusive resorts and know what to expect generally since this place won’t meet your expectations. I consider myself very patient and even I became internally frustrated many times.
One great thing is that it’s a beautiful property. Staff smiles at you all the time and the beach is exquisite. One of the concierge even remembered my full name my last day there. I was shocked and asked how she remembered my name and she said she made an appointment to remember my name because even with things going wrong, I was smiling and kind to them (unlike several others we saw yelling and screaming at the poor staff) so she wanted to make sure I felt welcome. That says a lot about the hard working staff there and it might’ve even made it all worthwhile.
Do Not Book This Hotel -- It's NOT Ready to Receive Guests
I just got home from Jamaica and it’s late and I’m tired but I wanted to provide an unfavorable review for Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay since there were no reviews on this hotel when I made my travel plans and it’s my hope that my mistake in booking this hotel will provide some insight.
My wife and I arrived at Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay on March 29, 2010 at 4 PM. Upon our arrival, we were shown into an extremely small reception area for check in. The first sign of trouble for us was when we were told that the hotel could not tell us when our room would be ready. My wife and I have stayed at many 5 star resorts and this was an absolute first for us. Over the next four hours, not only had we still not gotten our room but has spoken with at least 7 other couples who were also waiting for their rooms. I personally have never met so many pissed off people / couples at a 5 star resort…those couples had been waiting 6 to 7 hours for their rooms to no avail. We even met a couple that had been at the resort for 4 days and were profoundly unhappy because there room had not been cleaned in those 4 days to include no clean towels. We met another couple that upon being shown to their room found that they had a sink in their bathroom but the sink was on the floor un-mounted and un-plumbed.
After experiencing all this and still being in a position where we didn’t have a room after 4 hours, we demanded to be moved to another hotel. We requested, were moved, and subsequently had a wonderful stay at the Iberostar Grand Hotel at Rose Hall.
Secrets in Montego Bay should not have been opened when it was because it was obviously not ready to receive guests. In addition, travel agents and travel sites SHOULD NOT be booking this hotel. Booking this hotel at this time is doing a grave disservice to your customers. This hotel may be a decent place to stay in a year, but right now it’s an absolute mess and madhouse.
P.S. We learned from a few other irate couples who came to Secrets specifically for the SPA that the SPA is definitely NOT up and running.
Extreme disappointment not a five star resort
We had stayed at Secrets Maroma in January and were expecting that level of food,
attitude, etc at this Secrets. We were booked for the preferred club of St. James and were told it was not ready previously but that we would be accommodated at the same at Wild Orchid..not so ..we were sent to the regular hotel..as were all of us "St. James stepchildren" The attitude of the management was not good, several people had their beds break, got stuck in the elevators for 45 minutes,etc. We were expecting the breakfasts we had in Maroma which was 5 star, what we received here was one star - similar to Denny's.
Conclusion: if you do not mind average food, love freeflowing alcohol, like the excitment of a bed breaking when you get in, spending quality time in a stuck elevator with new friends, & the challenge of dealing with management that really does not like tourists, then you will have a great time ! Problems happen in a new resort, granted, a true five star resort has a management staff that caters to their clients, not offends them.
Not Impressed - Not a 5-star Resort
Before we arrived we confirmed with the Secrets staff that everything was open and ready to go. They confirmed that this was the case on the phone and on their facebook page. When we arrived we found that this was far from the truth.
It took over 3 hours to get our room. When we finally did get it we were taken to our room, we were brought through the hallway which had several workers sitting in the hallway repairing walls and cleaning dry wall dust. There were also bags of cement and tools lying on the hallway floors. When the bell man tried to open our room we found 3 maintenance works hammering something and applying caulking to the walls. Needless to say, the room had a very strong chemical smell emanating from it. We told them we wanted another room. We waited for another hour for them to find another room. They finally found one that was finished and wasn't under construction. We were brought to the new room and the lamps and bar fridge were unplugged and nothing was stocked in the room (e.g. liquor, beer, soaps ... etc). While we were unpacking our clothes 4 different hotel workers barged into our room for no apparent reason. I suspect they thought it was unoccupied, but they didn't even bother to knock. We called the spa and tried to make reservations and found it was still under construction. We found the same was true for the fitness center and the tennis courts. We then went to dinner and found that only 2 out of the 8 advertised restaurants were open. We went to the one with the smallest line up and waited 20 minutes and our table and weren't approached by a server. At this point it was 9pm at night and we were very hungry. We ended up walking out and going to the other restaurant that was open and we waited 45 minutes in a line-up. After waiting this long, we decided we had enough and talked to the manager of the resort. He accommodated us and sent us over to the Iberostar Grand which was a refreshing change. We had no complaints and we were very happy with our stay at the Iberostar.
One of the positives of the Secrets are the staff are very nice and they were trying to be accommodating. However, they could only do so much since most of the issues were out of their control, since the resort should not have been opened in the first place. It also appeared that the resort did not have enough time to properly train the staff.
Not at all what I expected from a luxury 5 or even 4 star resort in Jamaica. If they weren't ready to open they should have waited. They are only hurting their reputation.
Just arrived back from Secret WO and we had an amazing time. We knew this was a new hotel and were prepared to deal with any new opening glitches. We arrived the first day (March 25) we were checked in and on the beach by 11:30 a.m. We did however need to wait for our room to be ready so we spent the afternoon at the beach and finally the pool bar where we met some great people (Marlon the best bar manager, Shelly & Doug, Janet & Ryan, Ali & Steve, Kiwi & Cooke, Ken & Tracy, JoAnn & Jo). Our room was not ready until 5:30 p.m. however we certainly enjoyed ourselves while we waited. Our room was amazing....ocean view with the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in at an all inclusive. We had a problem with the plug in the spa tub which was fixed the next day. My husband and I spent a good portion of our days on the beach and would move to the pool bar around 2:30-3:00 for some great food and drinks (buffet and barbecue). This was always a great spot to meet people. We had dinner at all of the restaurants except the Japanese....service was a little slow at first but was certainly improving during our weekly stay....Richard & Michael were great! We would like to recommend that a buffet be offered each night as a dinner option along with the restaurants (perhaps this is in the plan once the hotel is able to accommodate more people). The entertainment was amazing and the entertainment staff are to be commended ...Alicia, Althea, Jenice, Bruce, Isaac, Manny the DJ and Andre at the Piano Bar. We had no major issues and would highly recommend Secrets WO....I'm sure this place will be in full swing with no new opening glitches in no time at all!
Pretty darn good - for the discounted price
We arrived around 5:00pm on March 29. We sat down at one of the check-in tables, only to be told that we were supposed to be at the Preferred Club check-in. "No problem mon... we'll take you over there!" So we hopped in the nearest golf cart, with our bags, and were shuttled to the Pref Club lobby. Checked- in within 15 mins. Up to the room with our bellboy. Easy so far.
The room was quite nice. King bed, smallish sofa. We were on the 4th floor of the Pref Club, and the ceilings were vaulted with accent lighting... very stylish. Nice jetted tub, nice shower, with ceiling showerhead. Closet with motion-sensing lighting, with locking safe. Soaking tub on the patio (w/ low water pressure!). Mini bar only had 4 Red Stripes and a few sodas and water.
As for eating, we did not have the negative experiences that others had. We were usually in and out in under 90 minutes. Not bad for a 4 course meal. Food was always good, if not great. The longest wait would have been for the Japanese restaurant, if you wanted to be seated around the chef. We opted not to. Breakfast and lunch buffet were good... we've had worse buffet's at 4+ star places.
The nightly "resort band" was OK some nights, and good other nights. If you get a chance to see the steel drum band, it's worth the 90 mins or so of your time. The nightclub was OK, never really seemed to be that popular for whatever reason.
The Pref Club side is much quieter. Plus, you get drink service... albeit sometimes slowly, with only one server working the entire side. But the Pref Club also has their own drink waiter inside, near the snack buffet. He can only get you beer and hard liquor, with limited mix... he can't get fancy cocktails.
Room service was hit-miss thing. Sometimes quick. Sometimes not so much.
The only real problems we encountered was the lack of consistency with servers. Some were really good, experienced servers. Others were still obviously newbies. We also had a water leak in one of the light fixtures after a really heavy rainstorm. A water leak is bad enough, but through an electrical fixture... yikes!
We heard that the Spa opened the day before we left. It would have been nice to know, as we would have booked a treatment. A couple we met on the flight home said it was just an incredible experience, so hopefully this problem has been solved.
The drink selection was quite good. They would try to make you whatever you wanted. Some days, some ingredients wouldn't be available. But it wasn't hard to make another choice. Red Stripe is a decent run-of-the-mill beer... a la Budweiser.
Overall, I'm glad I didn't pay full price, as the resort is not complete. I would say it easily lines up with any other 4+ star resort. And that's about what we paid. It got a little better each day, and will continue to get better.
No Problem............Only one situation
My wife and I travelled to SWO to celebrate our 21st anniversary on April Fool's day and her birthday on April 4. We arrived several hours before check-in and were in our PC swim-out suite by 12:30 even though check-in was not until 3. The staff were great. The conscierge desk was extremely helpful in working out the "anniversary" stuff we were to get. It should have been booked when our reservations were made but we were unaware of the treats at that time. They also were helpful in getting my wife a massage in the newly opened spa. The food was good and the service was great Thursday and Friday. It seems Saturday and Sunday we had a hard time getting water and/or napkins at breaksfast and lunch. But as soon as you flagged someone down, it was remedied. I understand it is brand new and I travelled at a very discounted rate. I have no qualms and would go back tomorrow although I will probably wait until it grows in a little. I have read where you may be treated differently if you are more polite. I will say that my wife and I arrived at Bordeaux at 7:30-7:45 on Saturday night. There were several rude/loud/boisterous people complaining about the 45min-1hr wait for dinner. My wife and I said no problem, we will wait. We were going to walk over to the piano bar to get a drink and kill time, the hostess suggested we stay near so I left my wife there and went and got us a couple of drinks. We were seated five minutes later. The snorkeling is good, the kayaking is good (I did not sail but those people seemed to be having fun) The property is beautiful.
Beautiful Location, otherwise average with some bumps-they're trying
Came with a good friend, checked in within 15 minutes, beautiful room that looks better than pictures... Much to our chagrin we had neighbours who enjoyed blasting rap music 11pm-2am and when the desk called, sent someone to check it out- but it took ~20-30 minutes... then when our neighbours refused to turn down the music (telling staff "I'm enjoying vacation with my wife"), they felt there was nothing they could do. The next night it happened again and my friend insisted it be taken care of, which it was at ~1:30am. The food was average- expecting a bit more based on stays at other resorts of this rating, and service very slow sometimes- and sometimes forgetful.
Otherwise staff very friendly and you almost feel sorry that things can be so bumpy. Will probably improve with time.
Very big pluses: Beatiful Location, beautiful rooms, lots of included activities (biking, catamaran, kayaks...).
Sunset at Sunset Beach
The royal treatment
Trevor and Gillian
Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville
New Years Events
My wife and I are going to be in Montego Bay for New Years Eve this year and want to know if there are any planned celebrations, recommended places to party, etc. Any advice is appreciated.
Re: New Years Events
There will be plenty of revelry around Mo Bay on New years Eve. i don't however know of any public parties per se. You don't say where in Mo Bay you will be staying, but i do know that all the resorts have their own celebrations. The best New Years Eve party on the planet is in Rio!